Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Not over yet.

Just when you thought it was over....... it carries on.

Saturday Home, Sunday, Manchester parade, Monday press call so I had to get my bike out again. Monday night, put my bike away. Tusday morning ..... "Hi Pete, the press would like another picture outside Manchester United football stadium, on your bike. Can you be there in ten minutes"?

"No, it takes me ten minutes to get my boots on, 15 to get the bike out again, same to get there".

"OK, see you in half an hour" !!!! Doh!

From Old Trafford, I had an interview at Rock Radio in Salford Quays, then rush home for telephone interview with Capital Radio.

That done I put my bike away again.

Today, Wednesday, Woken up by Mike from Bennetts (it was 10 am, so no problems, I should have been up).

Daily Star and Metro News both had mentions and now news about the BBC One Show on Friday.

The bike remains in the garage, my boots put in the cupboard and perhaps a few days rest for my aching hands (2000 clutch pulls in the parade), and bum !!!!

I will add the link for the TV shot on Friday, but meanwhile....... Mrs J has hidden my bike key.

May be going to the Horizons Unlimited meeting in Ripley Derbyshire. (If I can find the keys by weekend that is!!!!)

Monday, 20 June 2011

Home Sweet Home

After 25 hours of travelling, I returned home at 6pm on Saturday to a warm and welcome reception from my family. The journey from San Francisco was delayed a few hours, and air travel is always an issue, me being slightly wider and taller than the seats were designed for.
Sunday morning I had to be up to attend the Manchester Day parade where I was to ride my bike in the procession.
At around 5am here and 9pm in my head, I was awake and eating anything I could get my hands on. (Unusual for me I know !!!)
(Nice cuppa tea !)

One o'clock and the rendevous in central Manchester at the start of the parade, totally jet lagged by now, I was informed that I would have to push the BMW for the 2 mile route due to health and safety.

(What about my health and safety???)

I suggested that I would like to leave !!! So they allowed me to ride, assisted by the engine (bonus).

Two hours later, engine getting very hot, oil light flashing away, we finished and that was the official end of the Road2Manchester.

Never cease to wonder why people took so many pictures, not knowing who I was, or why I was the only motorised 'vehicle' in the whole parade?
The Beemer seemed very light and very, very tall after the Goldwing, Driving on the other side of the road seemed very strange too.

Finally, Finally

Once again thanks you to all of the organisers, Bennetts Insurance for the Biker Dream, RGP International for the organisation, the good people of the USA for being so nice, and my family for their love and support.

Many thanks to the Facebook friends, and the 6000+ visitors here on my blog. I hope I entertained y'all just a little. I may well write a book about my adventure...... meanwhile I will always be on the Road2Manchester.

Keep on dreaming, you never know.

As they say in America......." well, there you go ".



Thursday, 16 June 2011

Take the Man out of Manchester.

Sunset over Manchester California

Video antics. Gentleman Lawrence

The last full day of riding was another marathon. Big miles, but also a long time. This was due mainly to the regular stops for photos, video and views that are`just amazing. Highway 1 down the west coast is rough in places, land slides cause problems, big trucks and RCV's add to the cyclist, bikers and cars to make going a little fraught at times, but the scenery and road just blows your mind. The Griffin Inn at Elk, was a little more expensive than my normal motels, but it had a monopoly in the area, and as I took my life in my own head, and hit a few MPH over the limit to get back from the Manchester photo shoot 13 miles away. It was worth it. Breakfast bought to my 'chalet' in the morning.

At 46 degrees F, it was a cool start when I got back to Manchester to take some more photos. A quiet place with only the slightly dotty post mistress taking any interest. I soon deposited my message in a bottle near the towns sign. (Bottle with a message to all the Manchesters and the last few threads of the flag that had travelled with me). San Francisco was about 170 miles away, and the journey seemed to take forever as the '1' got busier and more populated as I got nearer. By 5pm I was crossing the Golden Gate bridge
and fighting the GPS and the roadworks to get into the docklands area.
My last night would be in the grand surroundings on the Argonaut Hotel near Fishermans Wharf, but I was a day early so I went back to the edge of town and stayed in a more modest motel.

As I write this , its 2pm on Thursday 16th June, the bike has been returned to Eagle Rider in SF, and the final mileage was 8525 miles. I have ridden every day for 34 days (though some days 5-30 miles).

My longest day was from Livingston, Oregon to Manchester,Washington at 748 miles. My shortest 6 miles to do some some laundry.

Though I was resticted by time and the task in hand, I have only scratched the surface of what the USA has to offer. In fact I have only taken the pin out of its box to start to scratch.

The people I have met have been great, the friendship and hospitality more than I could have wished for. One thing for sure, I can recommend anyone to visit this massive and diverse country, you will never run out of things to see or do. I have never been scared, worried or concerned about who I spoke too, or where I was. (Even that forest in Alabama).

Thanks go out to:

Bennetts Insurance (Bennetts Biker Dream), RBP International, (Nicolien, Becks and the team), Ben, Chris, Jonnys gang, Missy, John (Red), Cory and Jack for the offers of Beds, beer and great conversation.

To my wonderfull wife who put up with months of 'ME' prior to coming over, and a month of being lonely as I travelled. (Love you loads).

Before I fly home, just a short note about Lawrence, (Above) the old chap I met in a Diner on 'Flag Day'. The shortest encounters often have the most profound effect.

Lawrence was an 'Elk', onc of the age old fraternities that have existed here for many years. He was going to a blessing for the Start and Stripes and though he invited me along, it would have been too long to get to where I was going.

In ten minutes he told me of his family leaving Plymouth in the 1600's, how in his lifetime the country had changed, and how proud he was to be an American. I gave Lawrence a pin badge showing the Stars & Stripes along with the Union Jack given to me by the American Embassy in London. We shook hands and he had a tear in his eye (me too), as we parted he thanked me for visiting the USA and hoped his country had treated me well.

You all did, and may I add that I hope that if you should ever visit the UK, we too can offer the same welcome and friendship.

Goodbye America. God Bless and thanks again.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

The Last Manc Standing

Rememnber that due to time zones, it is still Tuesday here in Manchester California. After another long day of 13 hrs, 458 miles and the infamous Highways 101 and 1 (wow is that a twisty), I arrived in my last Manchester as the sun set over the Pacific Ocean. 8.30PM and I had a dash back 13 miles north for last orders and a meal in ELK.
Giant Redwoods and dramatic sea mists over crashing waves and choppy seas. The Pacific highway is full of great views and great roads. I will add pictures in the morning, Just thought I would let you all know. S'Done.Did it.... finito bonito, QED, Finis, The End
( well almost just got to get to Frisco now. !)

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Last Manc Standing

10pm on a Monday night, and I am about to retire for the day. Good start this morning from Manchester Washington, and leaving Jack my host and guide to the I-5 freeway, I got a 130 miles in before breakfast. A quick realisation that I was just motoring for the sake of it, I turned west and headed for the iconic 101 Pacific Highway.
80 miles west seemed an odd choice seeing as I wanted to get South to Manchester, California, 500 miles away.
Twisting and turning through a mist covered forest on the way down to Lincoln City, it turns out that it was raining when I reached the sea. Just in time to speak to BBC radio Manchester (John Barnes), live , I did my stuff via mobile phone before once again doing a few miles more.
So in the Dublin House Hotel, Yachats, Oregon (Spelt by a native indian or an Irish settler???? I dunno), a good chilli burger, beer and chat with the locals was the norm.
Bed now with 325 miles less to travel tomorrow. Looking for Giant redwood trees and giant sand dunes en-route.
Next blog.......
The Last Manc standing at the last Manc on the list.......... sad, happy, relieved and ready for my own bed, a good cup of tea, and a cuddle (but not necessarly in that order.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

HOW FAR?????

The past few days have been a blur. Just one very long day that lasted until Saturday night. On Friday morning 10 June 2011 my odometer read 19460 miles making my total journey 6029 miles in 27 days. Despite 2 days off, I still rode a little bit, just to relax !!!

Today is Sunday 12th and I am having my 3rd 'Day Off ' I have ridden 2333 miles this week and despite missing a whole lot of things, needs must. Deadlines are deadlines. So just a little ride with Jack my host in Manchester Washington. (Facebook friends are great) This is a beautiful place overlooking the sea with Seattle just in view about 10 miles away.The short ferry ride was enough to get back some sanity after all those miles and the Seattle rush hour.

Before I go anywhere though........ odometer reading is now 20650 and my 12 hrs jaunt yesterday from Livingston, Montana through Idaho to Washington clocked off at 748 miles, six tanks of gas (Petrol), and one tired rider..... BUT the beer at the Manchester Pub was cold, the Pizza was incredible and the welcome from everyone was staggering. So...... I am staying again tonight as the good people of Manchester WA, (SSHHH! keep this place a secret !) are expecting some mad guy from England to arrive on a Goldwing this afternoon. Might be worth staying around to meet me, him, I. (4 time zones in 4 weeks...... its 10am here, my watch says 1pm and at home its past 5pm, no wonder I am confused).

Monday and SOUTH, to my final Manchester, Port Arena, California.
Happy to be heading home, missing my wife, daughter and dogs, but boy do I have a tale to tell.

Highway 1 down the Pacific coast.......... what a way to finish.

NB: Anyone anywhere in the world thinking that the Honda Goldwing is a poor bike...... Wrong. 7209 miles without a hitch, murmer or issue. 120mph in total silence (Ssssh, someone told me that !), comfort and load capacity second to few. Big? , Yes, Heavy ?, Yes, but so am I.


Thursday, 9 June 2011

Horse shoes and turbo bikes.

Running a few days behind, the need to get places has become the main activity with 12 hour riding and big states to cross.

To catch up I have to add my thanks to Corey Clark in Fond Du Lac in Wisconsin. Another Facebook/Advrider pal, who asked me home for B&B (Beers and Bed). A busy night with Horse Shoe throwing contests, chicken wings to feed an army, and good company back at Corey's place.

It was Corey's idea to take the SS Badger, the old ferry across then lake. Good Call.

Next day Manchester Just down the road. A small agricultural village with a great Diner and a big breakfast. The ladies that 'do', were great and the facebook page gets another friend. ( Rubber Bottom, is another story).

A big day of almost 400 miles in 100 degree winds (From the South), and by 6pm I had covered 2 more villages with the name. Now in Minnesota the wind was burning as the temperatures hit 105 again. Drink, cover up your arms and use factor 50. Riding in the gusts and side wind was a killer with 12 degree off vertical and massive jumps from side to side when passing trucks. The avergage speed was in triple figures ans the miles swent by.

Another Super 8 Motel by the free way and an early night, I managed a good 9hrs sleep before heading west again. Today 52 F and a north Westerly wind..... the full riding suit was bag out of the panniers. 3 layers, double gloves and RAIN.

South Dakota...... IS.....................massive !

Manchester SD was blown away by a hurricane. No wonder, this is one BIG FLAT state. Straight roads that blow your mind. Views so far in all directions, you can see the curve of the earth. Manc SD....... as predicted NOTHING.......................... Little House on the Prairie, my they had it tough.

Visions of 20 million Buffalo come to mind on these vast grasslands. Those early Americans must have been tough cookies to set off over these lands with no roads, no idea of what was beyond.

The Badlands, where two of the earths 'plates' meet is a surprize. The land drops a thousand feet in a display of pink white and sand coloured layers eroded into sharp peaks and troughs. $10 toll and a very pretty 'warden' at the gate, and it was twisties and awe inspiring scenery again.

After another 12 hrs day, 312 miles I find myself looking up the Devils Tower in Wyoming. The volcanic formation was the star of the film 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind'. Looking like a 1200ft high tree trunk, this is a sacred place for the Native Americans and a strange looking object.

The local town of Hulett (pop: 140) was increase by myself and a guy from London, who was touring Esat to West (in a car). Good beer, good looking women, great Burger. Bonus.

Met the mayor, who seemed over cheery and loud, but hey thats fine.

Eileen from Seattle regailed tails of Sturgis Bike week and meeting her man there last year. Having dropped off Highway 90 earlier, Sturgis is getting ready for the 1/4 million bikers that turn up in a month. That must be a crazy event.

Even the sleepy town of Hulett saw 110,000 bikers turn up during Bike Week.

So its the 10th June and in 7 days I fly home to the UK. 1200 miles to Seattle and another 1000 down the Pacific Highway.

6029 miles covered to date and an average 286 per day needed to catch that flight.

Thanks to all those who have added laughs and memories, please. If I missed you out of the blog, visit where the photo albums and mentions continue.

I will try and keep up with more stories right through the next seven days. But time to go........ Another Day another Manchester.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Michigan 'In a great State'

The Tour Bus.

Party time in Michigan with Missy Covill

Singer songwriter and all round mate.

Michigan gave a double whammy. After leaving my host John in Manchester Michigan, I was just a few miles down the road for Saturday

night at another facebook friend Missy Covill (See Facebook/missycovill)

Missy and I had been chatting for months about bikes, music, theme songs for my up and coming video stuff etc: the invite to come over was in the diary. Even her Mun arrived on a Harley.

Late into the night the 20-30 guests ate great food, drank more than enough beer, argued about game shooting and even had the odd wrestling match. Once I had answered questions about what we hunt in the UK (Nothing !), A ten gauge shot gun was thrust into my hand and I was sending beer cans to a better place. Add a bit of a jamming session on the old harmonica & guitar, seeing lightning bugs, hearing bull frogs and watching Chip Monks playing in the yard, I took to the 'Tour Bus' for a hot and very dark night down in the dell . Leaving Missy and her family in peace I thank here for a great experience and friendly stay that will remain a fond memory for ever.

I left after a great hot breakfast heading for an old coal fired ferry that would save me a 300 mile slog through Chicago. The SS Badger runs a 60 mile trip across lake Michigan and was around 80 miles north of my unique hotel at Missy's.

On the way I stopped for a Dune Buggy ride on the massive dunes that line the shore. The best $16 I have spent, the 45 minute tour in a massive open top 16 seater truck. (Note to self; Southport Beach???)

Ludington overnite as the ferry left at 8am, and then a quiet 4 hours on the ship. Good news I had time to sort out the massive amount of photo & video files and found my DEALS¬GAP (Dragons Tail) vid hiding in a picture file. Way Hey 80)

More pics at facebook/roadtomanchester and facebook/bennetts_bike.

Arrived in Manitowoc, Wisconsin at mid-day where it had been raining hard and 72F (seemed really cold after 85F the day before). 2 miles in land....... 85F again.
Next stop another facebook invite from Cory Clark in Fond Du Lac.

Next blog, Chicken wings, Turbo bikes, Throwing Horse Shoes, Manc' Wisconsin and 105 degrees + 35MPH side winds. (Fun in the sun.....not !).

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Oh Oh Ohio and Michigan Memories

Manchester Ohio, another small town on the banks of the Ohio River. The winding road that runs by the river promises another pleasant town. And Manc-ohio is. It is what I always thought an old US` township should look like with a main street on which a combination of brick and timber buildings show the history that made the town. As if the dust road from yesteryear had simply been concreted over.

A settlement town named after a UK mancunion who was sent there to survey and mark out the area to be given to war heros and military solders as reward for their services to the country.

Suffering from the world wide recession, the town showed signs of the times with shops closed and many households holding yard sales to make ends meet. Having visit the town hall and speaking to the Mayoress, I went to the river bank where two old timers in a pick-up chatted about the demise of the town, lack of employment and stricken economy. I felt sorry for this unique and classic town that to me (Just my opinion), is what 'small town USA' should look like, its a shame that the vast River Ohio can't bring some tourism and a brighter future to a charming place.

On to Michigan.

John Stedman Filling sand boxes

Manchester Village , Michigan,

After another 350 mile blast through to Michigan, I arrived in Manchester MI on Friday, about 6.30pm. Despite the long day, I was keen to meet up with John Stedman, another Facebook contact who had seen an article about me in the local Manchester Enterprize newspaper. I had spoken to Dave, there reporter a week before on a bad Skype connection that was cutting out every few seconds due the the electrical storms they were having in the area. (Great more rain up north !).

An invitation for bike talk and beer was enough to look John up.

As I arrived at THE traffic lights in one of the nicest Manchesters I had seen to date, I spotted as guy on the veranda of a bar, just above a classic Honda parked on the corner. It was John, but due to my fatigue and being at one of the four-way-give-way junctions, I didn't think it might be him until I tuirned the corner. I had his cell number and within seconds John said thats me on the corner !
A quick beer and a meet and greet from the patron of the pub, and Mrs: S turned up and I was quickly invited back for steak and a bed for the night. John had some chores to complete, and I watched as he made Tortilla Chips and a big frier in the back yard. These would be sold at the farmers market along with home made preserves.

After a steak and just one more beer, we eventually retired at 11.30pm. 4 seconds and was snoring like a good un!

Next morning more duties for the Manchester Mens Club and community led charity that created events and ploughed the profits back into the village. A few hours of filling local kids sand pits, and we were free to ride a little and see the area.

In the afternoon I was due at Missy Covill's house about 15 miles away for a party so Saturday became my second day off (but on) the bike since I started. More about Missy next time.


Friday, 3 June 2011


Seems like a long day all rolled into one. 19 days ago I set out from Boston and to date have ridden to Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont, Connecticut all in the rain, then Toronto, Pennsylvania, Maryland, through Virginia to North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee Alabama (2), Georgia and back north managing Alabama to Kentucky via Tennessee in just one day. Today I visited Manchester Indiana a very pleasant small town nestled in what seemed like the county of Cheshire back home. Now I am just 12 miles from Manchester No 16 in Ohio.

This weekend another day off (thats the second in 20 days, huh!) I will be staying with music legend Missy Covill (see facebook and youtube) who has been following my progress since before I got to the US.

With a maxed out road temperature of 118F yesterday, it went from Barmy to balmy today with a mere 80F and cloud stopping even more burnt bits.

If you are in the UK, buy MCN (Motorcycle News) next Weds: for some stuff about the trip, and listen to Sidestand Down radio this Tuesday for my witty banter and general rubbish.

Thanks to the 6000 visitors to this blog, and my many facebook/roadtomanchester friends.

To date, the trip has been a pleasure and the people I have met have all been very pleasant, welcoming and interested in my quest.

May I send out my thoughts to the people in those states that I can not visit due to storm damage.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Bad vibrations

Starting off with telephone interviews by the UK's Manchester Evening News and then Rock Radio 106.1FM, I set off late (9.30) and with a balmy 75F headed for Goergia and over to Alabama. Its a sad day today though. I have lost the last weeks worth of SD cards with all my video footage. Somewhere between 7 gables Hotel in Burnside Kentucky (where I was trying to download them), and Madison, Alabama, (the long way round) I either dropped them or they were taken from the small shutter style storage boxes on the wing.(I doubt the second option). Fact is I down-loaded some to my notebook, but the big 8GB chip with Deals Gap & the Dragons Tail is lost. Sad sad day. I stopped a few times en-route and also at Lynchburg Tennesse the Jack Daniels centre. Anyone going there this week might want to ask. Small bag of SD chips all blue, most are 2GB all feature me. With a bit of luck, those finding them might realise they are lost (Doh!) and see the road to Manchester logos etc:
Alabama has two Manchester and the story about the first resulted in a quick get away as I was warned by a local who had shown me to this mountain forest 'town' !, that the area is not safe for 'outsiders'. He had left me but came back. I was setting up my camera but he wouldn't get out of his car, and soon shot off down the single track forest road. Tales of Hill Billies, meths stills and strange people were exchanged and shot guns being standard, had me make a fast retreat.
In comparison Manc#15 Alabama near Jasper, is another small community, little there and a short visit and to an air conditioned hotel in Jasper. Maxed out at 109F the Goldwings air temperature gauge told me enough was enough.Tomorrow North to Indiana and Iowa. Hope its cooler.